She was quite angry when she called. I had inspected her house a couple of days prior and she complained that I left her windows unlocked. I let her talk for quite some time and then asked her if the windows in question were in her dining room and front bedroom.She seemed suprised that I had pointed out the two places where her windows were unlocked. I said that my policy (at that time) was to leave things exactly like I found them, so, if the window was unlocked I left it that way. She was skeptical and said that if there had been a burglary she would have come after me.
Her call was an important turning point for me. Leaving things like you found them has it's flaws. This is one of them. Plus, what if you make a mistake and leave it unlocked when it was locked in the first place. Better to have a set routine which you never vary from.
Now I handle windows and doors with a set routine. On vacant houses, I never leave windows or doors unlocked...even on the upper floors, or on the walkout to an elevated deck. On occupied houses, I will make an exception for when the owner is in the house and has windows open for the breeze, but if the owner is not there, windows are closed and locked.
On vacant houses I leave blinds closed and all the way down. On occupied houses I try to leave blinds exactly as I found them. People have a set way they want their blinds and this takes some awareness of what you start out with in each room.
The home inspection process is an intrusive one. The lady who was complaining was very uncomfortable about having her home inspected. I try to keep this in mind as I go through each inspection.
In addition to a set routine, I have a written policy about leaving windows closed and locked. If a home owner complains that I have left windows open or unlocked, I know that it was not because of my inspection. I have perhaps a hundred clients that can attest to my policy, because I tell my clients about it too as we go through the house.
I was fortunate that my complaining home owner called me. Otherwise, I might still be doing what I was doing and could have ended up in court trying to explain the folly of leaving things exactly as you find them.
It's a good idea to have me inspect your client's prospective home. You never know what you will find.
Home Status Inspection Company
September 9, 2007 © Home Status Inspection Company, LLC. All rights reserved.